Book 6, Chapter 55

Decisive Battle

Silence reigned over the arena, so much so that the elder could hardly believe his ears as he rushed forth at full speed with no regard for appearance. However, when he finally reached the arena he became deathly silent as well.

There was only one voice sounding on the battlefield, the gasps of an exhausted beast. That beast was Richard.

Richard was still standing; barely at that, but still standing. Carnage was buried into the ground as he leant against it, blood flowing down from almost every part of his body to the jagged sword to join what already existed on the edge. He was inhaling sharply and desperately, like a fish that had been thrown ashore, but even coughing up blood one could see the fire in his breath.

It looked like he couldn’t lift a single finger anymore, but behind him Bloodhammer was on the ground. Most of his upper body and head had disappeared, the entrails marking a path twenty metres into the distance! It looked like the body itself had exploded!

A poisoned grand mage who fought in melee was alive, but a senior totem warrior was dead? The elder refused to believe his eyes for a moment.

Those who had actually seen the battle were much, much worse off. Richard had raised his blade up to the sky when the battle began, radiating such thick killing intent that the weaker-willed amongst them even felt like he was covered in a column of blood. He had rushed forth to meet Bloodhammer head-on, and with a well-timed burst of speed had left a nick on the warrior’s ribs before peeling away.

Bloodhammer had turned stiff, slowly bowing his head to look at the injuries strangely before he suddenly burst apart into a bloody fog. It had almost felt like a fountain filling the sky; one found it difficult to imagine that there could be so much blood in one body!

Ten metres away, Richard had fallen to the ground like a traveller who had just survived the desert. Nearly ten whole minutes had been spent in him gasping and getting to his feet. Everyone noticed that the strike had taken a lot from him, to the extent that he bled everywhere without even suffering a single strike, but regardless of that Bloodhammer had died so terribly to a single blow. A lot of them had subconsciously stopped breathing for minutes on end.

“Richard… wins,” the referee said eventually. Despite his disbelief, there could be no change to the results.

The silence in the audience was finally broken, and a flurry of voices erupted as people discussed the fight almost desperately.

“Is it the sword? It made me feel terrified!” many people asked.

“No! That sword is very powerful, but this was because of a powerful technique.” The answer came from multiple places as well, but the numbers were relatively far fewer. These were all warriors with enough experience and vision to realise what had happened.

“Really… Terrifying!” someone uttered, their voice cutting right through the noise to silence everyone for a moment. None of the barbarians laughed at the youth who had lost his voice; all of them knew that they would have fared no better in Bloodhammer’s place.

Richard’s attack had been so slow that anyone could see, and Bloodhammer did as well. However, for some reason there was no way to dodge this strange blade. Many of them had found that the sword didn’t seem to shake in the slightest; this meant nothing to the layman, but to someone of skill it meant that he had absolute control over his weapon. There were several schools of thought with regards to martial arts in the Shrine, but it was accepted that control was both one of the strongest and most difficult aspects to learn. There were often generations where nobody focused on it purely because it was nearly impossible to reach the prowess Richard had displayed.

Most barbarians focused on physical tempering instead of speed, so it wasn’t uncommon for them to be struck by an opponent on occasion. However, a tiny nick had almost completely destroyed Bloodhammer’s body; this was certainly their greatest weakness. This attack was incredibly powerful, and it seemed like it took a great toll on its user, but despite Richard’s appearance there was no guarantee that he couldn’t use this blade again.

When he heard the referee’s announcement, Richard summoned the elven sword to serve as a walking stick as he hobbled down the stage and sat down to meditate. He had used the full power of all five Lifesbanes and Carnage in that attack, and the concentrated energy had caused a blood explosion within Pangun’s body, but such an attack had its cost. With his mana pool deteriorating, he didn’t have the energy to feed Lifesbane completely. A majority of the power of that strike had come from his life force.

He silently assessed his injuries and flashed a helpless smile. Three years of life force at minimum, completely gone. Some would consider it a fair deal to lose three years of lifespan to eliminate such a powerful enemy, but Richard was worried about his own problems. Three years of life was nothing to him, but the physical toll it took weakened him so greatly that summoning such strength once more was near-impossible. The next time he used this strike, he would die.

He suddenly laughed, convincing himself that killing another was perfectly fine. The more people he killed under the eyes of these elders, the more they would be humiliated. For now, that would be enough. He calmed down and slowly worked on the poison in his body, trying to eliminate as much of it as he could.

……

Within a small room in the shrine that faced the battlefield, two men were staring out of the windows.

“This Richard is a big variable. Thankfully, I was prepared. Do you still think you could have defeated him without issue?” Hendrick said with a squeaky voice, turning to the Sixth Prince.

“That blade would not necessarily defeat me. Even if I could not avoid it, my strong defences would have weakened the blow greatly. Richard is still a grand mage in the end, it is impossible for him to drive such attacks with a saint’s strength.”

Hendrick shook his head, “Those aren’t all of his cards.”

“Oh?” Uriel was surprised, “He’s already hurt this much but he still has more tricks?”

“He must,” Hendrick said gloomily, “Look at his eyes, I can still see hope.”

Uriel shrugged, “He can’t get through the next fight.”

……

Richard felt like a dozen red-hot steel rods were wandering around his body as he tried to fight the poison. He managed to delay the effects a little, but he had already lost another level during this time.

“How long are you going to rest?” a rough voice rang through the arena, waking him from his trance, “I am your opponent.”

Richard looked up to find a typical barbarian warrior in a typical barbarian outfit, the numerous cuts on his body indicating that he had just experienced a fierce battle. The more serious injuries had been wrapped up in some sort of grass, while the smaller ones had been left exposed.

“I am Muzha!” the brawny fellow screamed, “Remember my name, it is the last you will learn before your death. I’ll throw your body back to Norland, anyone with complaints can come find me!”

Richard pulled out Carnage and supported himself up, slowly walking towards the battlefield. He looked so weak that he could fall at any time, but for some reason, Muzha felt his heart beating faster and faster.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo